Category Archives: Occupational Wellness

Meet Stacey Tamura, Another Amazing Keiro Volunteer!

Stacey Tamura, South Bay Keiro Volunteer

Stacey Tamura, South Bay Keiro Volunteer

Volunteering is an important way for the next generation to get involved in caring for seniors! Below, Stacey Tamura shares her experience volunteering at South Bay Keiro Nursing Home.

I am a high school student and organize nursing home visits with high school students at my school. We have volunteered at South Bay Keiro Nursing Home a few times to participate in fun activities such as origami and bingo with the residents. All the activities have been enjoyable to do with the residents. Also, the staff were very welcoming and accommodating. After the activity, we talk with the residents and get to learn more about each other. They are always friendly and warm to us whenever we visit. I am glad to know that we may be making their day a little more fun.

Stacey is a junior at the California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS), which is located in Carson, California. She participates in Biomed/HOSA Club, Key Club, Robotics, and National Honors Society with her school. During her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking desserts, and playing piano.  

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

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When it Comes to Learning, Age Ain't Nothin' but a Number!

Intellectual wellness is an important part of genkiliving. Ms. G., a Sansei and family member of a former Keiro resident, shares her experience of going back to school in her 40s and 50s!

How I went from unemployed legal assistant to Licensed Clinical Social Worker is all about making a scary decision to return to academics, in my 40s. Actually, my family thought I was crazy, but I had the support of my two adult children. To make it even more dramatic, I had worked about 20 years with a high school education.  I knew nothing about college academics.

I don’t know how my lil’ brain was able to pass the science and math courses, but it did. I began attending community college courses and earned an Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Arts, but I thought I needed more. Then I enrolled in a 4-year college and earned a Bachelor’s degree. As you can guess by now, I have really challenged myself, emotionally, financially, and physically. Going back to my brain-power, I was most amazed that I was getting higher grades in college than in elementary school. After much debate with my daughter who had a Master’s in Social Work, I took the leap of faith and enrolled in the Master’s program as well. At this point, I was really wondering if my brain cells could get me through working part time in the day and attending night courses for 4 years. To my surprise, while in my 50s, I finally found my comfort zone. Every course that I took, I truly enjoyed and absorbed…except for Statistics. I’ve been happily doing work that I really love. Just imagine if I had let age and family critics get in my way.

Through my personal experience, I challenge anyone to pursue their dreams. What is age, but just a number. You will be amazed what you can do when your heart is behind…pushing you forward. 

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

If you enjoyed this article, click the “like” button below!

It's Obon Season!

Children's Performance at Nishi Obon, July 9-10

Volunteering at Obon

Being involved in community activities is a great way to socialize and stay genki! Karen Escano of Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple (one of Keiro’s Nikkei Senior Network member organizations) talks about her volunteer experience at this year’s obon carnival.  

On July 9 and 10, the members of the Los Angeles Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple held their annual Obon Carnival. It was the culmination of months of planning and preparation. To be a part of Nishi’s Obon celebration is something one has to experience to appreciate. While remembering our loved ones who have sadly passed away, side-by-side with friends and family, there is a sense of “oneness” as everyone works together. It has been reported that during our Obon carnival, there are at least 200 people hard at work.  Whether they are in a booth, the kitchen, directing cars in our parking lot, or making sure we have toilet paper in our bathrooms, the efforts are endless. Everyone simply wants to do what they can to make it easier and more enjoyable for others. The contributions of Nishi members are numerous, and whether it be in the form of the delicious osushi made by the Fujinkai women, whose members range in ages 50 to 90 years, to the sweet song and dance performed by the Nishi Development Center children, who are between the ages of 2 and 5, the sense of pride and selflessness are evident.

A Community Effort

This year, as in years past, we were fortunate to have thousands in attendance. Guests were able to enjoy a variety of food and drink items, (the boba and dango were amazing!), games, cultural exhibits and demonstrations as well as entertainment. This year, our guest MC was Mr. Rodney Kageyama. We were thrilled that he was able to join us in welcoming The San Fernando Hongwanji Buddhist Temple Choir, The Taiko Project, Kotobuki no Kai, LA Matsuri Daiko, and Matsutoyo Kai, to name a few, during our entertainment segment. Our objective in providing entertainment at our Obon carnival is two-fold; one, to provide a lighthearted atmosphere for our guests and two, to provide our hardworking members a slight distraction from their efforts. We are always humbled and very grateful to the talented performers who donate their time to be with us.

We hope that if you were able to join us this year that you had a memorable time, and if you were not, please plan to do so next year. The energy that our members put forth in celebration of Obon each year is truly amazing.

As a side note, when I was approached (begged) to write this article, my immediate response was “okay,” not knowing until hours later that it would require more brain power than I might actually have, and that I was probably not very qualified to do so.  However, having said that, I am glad that I was asked as it has given me an opportunity to reflect on the significance of Obon and the ability to express how meaningful it is to be a part of something so very special.

Karen is a member of the Board of Directors for Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.  She has served as past president of both the Adult Buddhist Association (ABA) and the Dharma School Parents for the Temple. For the past four years she has served as co-chair of the Obon Entertainment Committee.


The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

If you enjoyed this article, click the “like” button below!

Volunteering in the Earthquake-Tsunami Area in Japan…

A Day at the Shizugawa High School Evacuation Center in Minamisanriku
Part I

Staying involved and helping each other is an important part of staying genki! Below is the first part of an account by Darrell Miho who volunteered in the earthquake and tsunami-affected area of Minamisanriku, Japan.

Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan – It’s 4:50 in the morning and golden rays of sunshine are already streaming through the glass block windows at the Shizugawa High School Judo Dojo. The sound of rustling blankets can be heard coming from one corner while sounds of snoring emanate from all around. The sliding metal door opens and closes as early risers tend to their morning business.

There is no running water. Six portable toilets are lined up outside the dojo – three for women and three for men. A five gallon (20-liter) plastic jug with a spout and a plastic bowl serve as a temporary sink. Soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels and a wastebasket sit next to the jug of water. Cleanliness is of the utmost importance to prevent the spread of germs and diseases.

At 5:30 a.m., Jun Suzuki is standing outside the entrance of the dojo wearing a pair of burgundy sweat pants and a long-sleeved black t-shirt under his black surfboard aloha shirt. While he takes his morning smoke, two ladies walk by and they greet each other with a softly spoken “Ohayou gozaimasu.” It’s a friendly exchange between fellow evacuees.

The morning is brisk as a new day begins at one of the 41 evacuation centers set up in Minamisanriku after the March 11, magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan and nearly wiped out this small fishing port in the Miyagi Prefecture.

Suzuki is one of 105 residents at the Shizugawa High School Evacuation Center that sits on a hill above the town where his house once stood just over 12 weeks ago. Most of the residents here escaped with only the clothes on their back. Some, like Suzuki, are just lucky to be alive.

At 5:50 a.m., Suzuki walks across the soccer field and down two flights of stairs to the Tokubetsu Yogo Homu Jikein, a special nursing home for the elderly, where he and his parents fled after they saw the tsunami engulfing their hometown. Inside, he walks down a dark, debris littered hallway and leads us into the room where they were trapped by the tsunami floodwaters.

Over two months later, you can still see the brown waterline just below the ceiling indicating just how close they were to drowning. There was only a foot of air space left to breath. He reaches up towards a metal curtain rod and explains how he hoisted himself up to keep his head above the water. “I thought I was going to die,” he said. If the water kept rising for another few minutes, he and his parents probably would have joined the list of over 14,000 people confirmed dead or missing in the Miyagi Prefecture alone.

Suzuki’s story is just one of the many survival stories to be heard from evacuees who now live in 2559 shelters located throughout Japan. While their lives have all changed forever, the residents try to move forward and return back to as much of a normal life as one could possibly have under the circumstances.

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

Celebrating 50 Years of Service…

South Bay Keiro Nursing Home Volunteer Awardees

Oh, what a morning!  On Wednesday our Keiro staff had the pleasure of being surrounded by 250 of our wonderful volunteers at the annual Keiro Volunteer Appreciation Brunch.  Held at Almansor Court in Alhambra, the morning started out with a bit of rain, but blossomed into a beautiful event where volunteers were able to meet with old friends, eat lots of food and be recognized for their dedication and service to our community.

There was plenty of chatter throughout the room as volunteers were able ” to see how many volunteers there were [are] and to meet good friends!”  Many commented that the event was a “very friendly and warm gathering,” and that it was “very relaxing and a great time to enjoy with fellow volunteers, eating delicious food!”
 

One volunteer stated, “As we celebrate 50 years of service, the atmosphere was charged with much happiness and anticipation as the entire community anticipates another 50 years of not only service alone, but that there will always be Keiro into the future years.”

Keiro Senior HealthCare would not be what it is today without the tremendous support of the community and the countless hours so generously given by our volunteers.  We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts and look forward to the next 50 years!
 
We would love to have you join our Keiro Volunteer Family!  If you are interested, please contact Kimberly Hayashi at khayashi@keiro.org or at (323) 980-2352.

Focus on Your Strengths or Your Weaknesses?

Scott Asai, Growing Forward

Focusing on Your Strengths

We’ve been brought up in a culture where it’s taboo to focus on your strengths because it seems like bragging. Yet, whether we are being genuinely humble or not, focusing on your weaknesses produces frustration, or at best – mediocrity.

Did you know that your greatest room for growth is in your areas of strength? 
That means the more you focus on your natural talents, the more successful you can be. Being well-balanced, or a jack of all trades, is a myth. You can’t be great at everything, only a few. Why not make the shift from focusing on your weaknesses to focusing on your strengths today?

What if you don’t know your personal strengths? As a Leadership Coach, I recommend taking the StrengthsFinder assessment. I have all my clients take this online test because knowing your strengths helps determine your personal brand, as well as providing the “means” to accomplishing your goals.

For example, maybe you’re an “achiever.” You like to work hard and stay busy. Everything is about goal accomplishment and producing results. Achievers want be seen as dependable. If you’re an achiever, to-do lists are a must and whether it’s your career or personal life, you always need to be working on something.

Look at the most successful people in any industry. They do one or two things extremely well and delegate the rest. They focus on their strengths daily. I challenge you to take the StrengthsFinder so you can know your strengths and become the best version of you!

Scott Asai is a Leadership Coach and owner of Growing Forward. A Certified Professional Coach, Certified Strengths Coach, and Certified Fitness Trainer with a M.A. in organizational leadership and a B.A. in psychology, he specializes in helping the Young Professional develop their career, optimize performance and become a better leader. Scott is happily married to his wife Lisa and they reside in Santa Monica, CA. He enjoys playing basketball, golf, working out and going to the beach and Disneyland in his free time.